Savings recently created from combining administrative positions and new retirements are expected to allow Greenport Village to hire a code enforcer and paralegal next fiscal year, Mayor David Nyce said Monday.
During a public hearing to discuss the 2014-15 preliminary spending plan at the Little Red Schoolhouse, Mr. Nyce said some of the responsibilities of the proposed code enforcer would include monitoring snow and brush removal.
About $30,000 has been budgeted for the position, village treasurer Robert Brandt said.
Although the code enforcer would be hired as a village employee and be eligible for benefits, Mr. Brandt described the paralegal as a part-time consultant who would not be a village employee. The paralegal would work “a few days per week” to help with litigation work, he said. The position’s $20,000 annual salary would be paid for through the village attorney’s portion of the budget, he added.
Recently combining the village administrator and director of utilities positions helped the village set aside money to pay for the new hires, the mayor said.
In the proposed budget new village administrator Paul Pallas, who will also assume the duties of utilities director, will be paid $150,000 annually, Mr. Brandt said. That is a $48,000 savings than from when the positions were paid separately, he said.
Mr. Nyce has proposed a general fund budget of $2.9 million next year, increasing the local tax levy by 2.14 percent
Although the figures seem to be above the state’s 2 percent tax cap, the rate includes certain exemptions bringing the budget in compliance with the state mandate, since required payments such as contributions to the state employee retirement system are not restricted by the 2 percent cap.
The entire budget proposed by Mr. Nyce totals $10.4 million, and includes the general fund as well as other accounts under the village such as the electric fund ($4.35 million), recreation fund ($1.35 million), sewer fund ($1.34 million) and water fund ($461,500).
Under the $2.9 million general fund spending plan, residents would see an increase in property taxes of 1.54 percent as a result of a higher assessed valuation, Mr. Brandt has said. The current tax rate is $19.42 per $100 of assessed valuation. That amount has increased to $19.72 for 2014-15, according to the tentative budget.
By raising the tax levy to the allowable cap, the village would be able to contribute $21,000 to its cash reserves, Mr. Nyce said.
Resident Bill Swiskey said during the public comment portion of the meeting that he believes Village Board trustees should relinquished their health benefits instead of raising taxes.
“The board should do the right thing,” said Mr. Swiskey, who frequently criticizes trustees for accepting the village’s health benefits. “If you didn’t take that there would be $28,000 more in the general fund.”
Mr. Nyce, who doesn’t accept the village’s health insurance plan, said during the meeting he would not consider legislation that would remove trustees’ health benefits.
The Village Board is expected to adopt a budget by May 1.